Although this may not feel like the most logical first step towards receiving your dream job in wildlife conservation, take it from someone who learnt the hard way – this is an absolutely crucial in helping you get specific and attract the opportunity that is perfect for you.
Getting clear on your goals or at least some of your “non-negotiables” is a really important first step in your job search.
For example, if it’s important to you to work where you can live with your partner, or close to your family these could be your non-negotiables. Do you have a pet that you will not part with?
You might be obsessed by working with a particular animal, or conserving an ecosystem that is close to your heart (forests, deserts, maybe you’re a water baby and you love the ocean…?).
Maybe you would like to work in the country you live in, or you always wanted to travel and work with wildlife in a different one. The list goes on…
And there are SO many paths you can take in wildlife conservation – lab-based roles, consultancy casual roles, live-in field roles, permanent jobs, short term seasonal contracts, town-based government or large corporation roles, research or teaching with schools or universities – the list goes on.
And there are roles, working with different animals, or habitats, roles in different regions, different countries – you name it, your dream role is out there – all you have to do is look.
And sure, if you are just starting out in your quest for meaningful employment, you may be thinking “I would probably be happy with just about any of those roles, I just want a foot in the door”. And to you I would say, sure – maybe you would… on the outset.
But from my experience, the game changer for me was when (in hindsight, a rather annoying) someone I was volunteering with pushed me to get clear myself. We were sitting on a beach in north-Western Australia counting as a nesting Flatback Sea Turtle laid her eggs at about 2.30 in the morning.
Tom said to me – what are you doing after this?
I replied, “I don’t mind, I just want a job”.
He said, “what job?”
I said, “whatever comes up”
He said, “yeh but what job do you want”
I said, “I don’t know”
He said, “yes you do, you should know”
Annoyed, I blurted out – “I don’t know – I guess I want a job swimming with Whale Sharks”
There, I said it. And the magic part – within a month, I had been offered a job as a “swim with whale sharks tour guide”. Cool right? After almost a year of desperate job searching, I decided I would definitely continue to use this method, thanks to its undeniable success.
And this is absolutely why I recommend it as a super crucial first step towards receiving your dream job in wildlife conservation. So now I want to go through how to get clear on your dream job in three easy steps.
- Find a quiet space where you don’t have something pressing to do.
You could be travelling home on a bus, studying in the library or at home in your room. Wherever you are, take 5-10 minutes for you and just breathe. Try to visualize yourself as a competent, confident professional in your field.
Ask yourself – what kind of animals do you work with? What kind of role do you do (are you lab-based, field-based, city-based)? Where do you live, and who do you live near?
Think about – what a day in your life looks like (what time do you start work? Do you travel to work or do you live on-site? What time do you finish?) and what about a week in your life (do you have weekends off? Or do you do fly-in fly-out swings? Are you employed seasonally or do you do a regular 9-5 permanent role?)
Remember there are no wrong answers. This is your dream.
Also remember, this might not be your “forever job” – you can use this method to manifest the next opportunity, an internship, a volunteer placement or a permanent on-going role – but try not to get too bogged down in whether or not you want to do this forever, and focus purely on your next step.
Now write it down.
Not only will this allow you to see your dream job in front of you on paper (this makes it real) but, if you write the date on the page, this is always fun to come back to as you can show yourself how far you’ve come towards your dream job.
2. Tell yourself “it’s mine”
Although, simple – this is incredibly powerful – and must be experienced to believe. There is no room for doubt – you’re not hurting anyone except your own chances so why not tell yourself “it’s mine” – and really believe it.
And how do you do that?
Well, when you read over your paper, think about how good it will feel when you are living your dream life. What will it feel like? A powerful feeling I like to reflect on is the feeling of relief.
I like to think something along the lines of – “after all my hard work and after caring so much about these animals, I feel so relieved that it is mine. I feel relieved to have my dream job, I feel relieved to be able to support my lifestyle, I feel relievedthat all my study and volunteering paid off, I feel relieved to be recognized as a paid employee of x organization”
And I actually try to feel that feeling.
Of course, you can choose a different feeling, or different reasons. This is just some of what I use.
Sometimes, there is a bit more inner work you can do to speed up the process – maybe you have some limiting beliefs such as “it’s hard to get a job in wildlife conservation” that you can overcome. But I will leave this for a subsequent blog post… stay tuned.
3. See how close you are already…
The last thing I like to do to attract my dream job is I get that notebook out again and make two columns: on one side, I write aspects of my life that already align with the lifestyle I wrote down in #1 and on the other side, I write down aspects of my dream lifestyle I don’t already align with.
And at this point, not only can you feel gratitude for the parts of your life that already match. For example, you may have completed a degree in wildlife conservation which is a requirement for applying for your dream role. You might already have the car you need to drive to work. You might already volunteer with the organization you would like to work for.
You might also think about some steps you can take today that will get you towards that second column. For example, if you want to work as a field ecologist handling Australian mammals, have a look for volunteer opportunities in the field where you can handle mammals (or in the very least observe mammal handling techniques). That way, when a role comes up to work with Quolls or Bandicoots or Wallabies, you already have experience under your belt.
Moreso, the volunteer opportunity itself might give you connections that set you in good stead to step into a paid position. Or it might show you that the opportunity was not what you thought it was, allowing you to get clearer on what you might prefer to do.
No shame, that job I spoke of with the whale sharks didn’t last long – because (although its hard to believe) I just didn’t align with that job as my passions lay elsewhere. It was certainly better to find out sooner rather than later!
So that’s my three DIY steps on how to get super clear on your dream job in wildlife conservation. The last recommendation I would have is to stay open to receiving what you want – and take steps that align with it. For example, if you get offered a volunteer role with frogs and your dream is to work in Orange-bellied Frog conservation. Take it and rejoice it! It’s a step in the right direction and you never know where it will lead.
The steps I’ve shared to help you get clear on your dream job will also help with anything you’re trying to manifest or call into your life – a car, a partner, a free cup of coffee. Always remember above all to have fun with it.
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